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             California State Teachers’ Retirement System

                                          (CalSTRS)

                                                                                                    Overview

As a member of the CalSTRS Defined Benefit Program, you have disability protection under one of the CalSTRS disability benefit programs:

  • You have Coverage A if you became a member before October 16, 1992, and did not elect Coverage B before April 1993.

  • You have Coverage B if you became a member of CalSTRS on or after October 16, 1992.

The Coverage A disability benefit (disability allowance) is generally 50 percent of final compensation. The Coverage A disability benefit will be paid as long as you remain disabled or until you reach age 60. At age 60, your disability benefit will end and you must apply for service retirement to receive a monthly benefit. Your disability benefit may continue beyond age 60 only if you have eligible children and remain disabled.

To qualify for a disability benefit under Coverage A you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be less than age 60.

  • You must have five or more years of credited service. (If you were the victim of an unlawful act on the job, you may qualify for a disability benefit with one year of service credit.)

  • Your last five years of credited service must have been performed in California. Four of the five years of credit must be for actual performance of creditable service. You must have earned at least one year of service credit following a service retirement termination, or following the most recent refund of your accumulated contributions.


If you plan to reinstate to active member status, first make an appointment with a CalSTRS benefits specialist to discuss important considerations, including how your future benefits may be affected.


The Coverage B disability benefit (disability retirement) is 50 percent of your final compensation. Your final compensation must be determined before your monthly benefit can be calculated and may be reduced for periods of part-time employment. Service credit is not a factor in determining your disability retirement benefit.

You will not receive service credit while you receive a disability retirement benefit. Your benefit will continue to be paid as long as you remain disabled, without respect to age. If CalSTRS determines you are no longer disabled, your disability retirement will be terminated.

If you plan to reinstate to active member status, first make an appointment with a CalSTRS benefits specialist to discuss important considerations, including how your future benefits may be affected.

To apply for a disability retirement benefit, you must either:

  • Have five or more years of credited service. (If you were the victim of an unlawful act on the job, you may qualify for if you have one year of service credit.)

  • Your last five years of credited service must have been performed in California.


If your last five years of credited service were performed in California:

  • Four of the five years of credit must be for actual performance of creditable service.

  • At least one year of service credit must have been earned after either: receiving a disability benefit, service retirement, or the most recent refund of your accumulated contributions.


There are no age restrictions. A teacher may apply for disability benefits at any age. The disability benefits can continue for life, as long as you continue to qualify.


There are very strictly followed procedures and timelines to file for disability benefits, and failure to follow these could result in the application for benefits being denied. This is why an attorney experienced in handling CalSTRS Disability Retirement cases can be extremely helpful. The attorney will know what medical documentation to submit and the strict timelines in which to filed them.

If you have questions about whether you qualify for CalSTRS Disability Retirement benefits, or if you have received a denial of benefits notice from CalSTRS, please contact me for a FREE confidential consultation at (916) 333-4653 or Stephen_Fiegel_Esq@comcast.net.

 

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